Real stories from real people in your community.
‘Bystander’ is a unique storytelling event that investigates people’s everyday experience of what it’s like to be a bystander in their world and presents it as ‘Verbatim Performance’. The creative team spends 2 weeks in each community; they interview 8 community members, edit these recordings and present them as headphone verbatim (meaning the performers listen to the recorded interviews and perform them as they hear them).
Each storyteller is photographed in their environment. These images are projected as their story is told during performance and become individual photo books and a framed portrait of each participant for the installation to be displayed in the community.
The installation consists of listen/viewing stations, one for each storyteller; chair, framed portrait and set of headphones that play their recorded voice/story. The photo journals and framed portrait of each community member will stay with the community.
Original songs are composed based on the content of the stories and performed in the live show will also be gifted to the community.
‘Bystander’ was originally developed and presented in Beverly in September 2018.
The aim of this project is to bring understanding to those living around us. We believe that everyone’s story is interesting and valuable and that by sharing stories we are able to be in the world together with greater empathy.
Form and Style
‘Bystander’ is presented in a very straight forward, stripped back, storytelling style. Two stools, two mics, a two piece band present the stories and songs in front of projected images of the community participants.
We think the best layout for presentation in cabaret style seating to encourage the community to see each other while listening to each others stories.
Bystander is unlike regular touring shows in that each show is bespoke to each town and each unique version of the work occurs after a residency of 2 weeks within the community.
Community & Audience Engagement
The BYSTANDER project is entirely a reflection of the community, the stories in the work come from them. The performance therefore is a genuine representation of the stories they want to tell and provides an opportunity for the town to tell their story back to the town, creating empathy and recognition of shared commonalities amongst community members.
The team conduct a significant amount of investigation prior to beginning our interviews in consultation with a community liaison officer. This is someone who lives and works in the town and has a significant connection to the people there. This person is sourced with the assistance of the community and presenter. They are also paid a fee for their time. This person is given access to the creative process and creative team of BYSTANDER to gain greater understanding of the process and to provide a professional development opportunity in presenting a work of this nature or similar arts projects in a community setting.
Preliminary meetings are held with the community liaison and the artistic team to cement an understanding of the project and to provide them with a brief, that ensues we get a cross section of the community that reflects them accurately. We are particularly interested in groups and individuals who might not usually participate in art projects, inviting them into the process, to share their story, giving them a voice and helping to connect people from the community that might not have a lot to do with each other ordinarily.
BYSTANDER is a celebration of people and of community, reflecting their rich and unique history. We believe that through sharing stories people are given access to find a personal and special way to reflect on a place and who they are within it or indeed who they could be. Some people in communities feel marginalised or voiceless, we love that this work has the potential to give them a voice and allows the audience and participants to reflect on the stories of others spotlighting their commonalities.
There is an opportunity in this work to find those silent hero’s who live and work within a community with little fanfare or thanks, who muck in and do so much for their families and those around them without expecting anything in return. How wonderful is it that we get a chance to honour them?
There is so much to be gained by sharing stories. By finding our commonalities we find a sense of togetherness. This leads to ongoing health and wellbeing outcomes that can be felt within a community well after the project has ended. The pride gained from celebrating the uniqueness of a place are palpable and the benefits immeasurable.
One example of this is the effect BYSTANDER had on the community of Beverley in September 2018. At the end of the project the community liaison and some participants involved in this version of BYSTANDER came together after the project had ended and worked together to create a community theatre group. They staged their first performance 6 months later selling 130 tickets generating enough income to begin planning their second performance. This involved people working together who had previously had little interaction with each other, but through the BYSTANDER project had connected and recognised their shared commonalities and desire to bring their community together through art.
This for us is an excellent example of the effect of community engagement, and involvement the project provides from the ground up. BYSTANDER actively involves members of the community at every step along the way. The artistic team reside in the community during its creation, which culminates in up to three presentations of the final performance. Through a shared experience of skills the community of Beverly were inspired enough and felt they had the capacity to continue to engage in an arts project of their own devising based on their involvement in the BYSTANDER project.
For us the BYSTANDER model is a community-engagement project every step of the way. It creates a platform for a community to tell their story and archive it through the recorded interviews and photographic exhibition in a way they can continue to engage and share with their communities long after the artistic team has gone. By actively participating in the process of creating the project to be viewed by the community we are building capacity through skill sharing and professional development opportunities to enable members from the community to continue to share their stories in similar ways.
Professional poster, flyer artwork, video, photos.
“The enjoyment we all got from hearing such a diverse range of peoples stories and the excellent way that you two presented and performed them was the talk of the Town. The original music and songs about the town were very popular as well.” Bruce Denny, Beverly
“I just loved every interview that you did with our Beverley folk. It gave me an insight personally to their lives and perhaps why they have made Beverley their home. The accents, the facial expresssions, the stance, you were the people you interviewed, every bit of the night was wonderful.” Jenny Rayner, Beverly
“It really was an amazing evening and totally exceeded my expectations!… It really is the most unique and interesting show I have seen in a very long time!!” Britt Hadlow, Beverly
Presented by Whiskey & Boots
Performed by Georgia King and Mark Storen
Music composed and performed by Holly Garvey, Tom Garvey and Mark Storen
AvailabilityNovember 2020 onwards
ArtformsLive Music, Multidisciplinary, Theatre
AudienceWe like to target people through community engagement and participation in the show, who don't normally attend art/performance events
Bump In2 hours
Bump Out2 hours
Costs'- Weekly Fee: N/A
- Cost per performance: $13,000 - for 3 shows and the photographic exhibition (3 weeks) after a 2-week residency.
- Remount: N/A
- Royalties: 3%
*Above fees do not include touring costs
Company ContactsGeorgia King
0450 741 554
Venue FormatAll - we can really put this show in any space including outdoor, theatre, pubs, etc.
Show Warnings: May contain mild course language and adult themes.
First possible performance: 2 hours post bump-in.
Minimum break between shows: 15 hours
Minimum stage width: any
Minimum stage depth: any
Minimum stage height: any
Staging & set description: 4 stools, 4 mics set up in front of large projections.
Lighting provided by the company: N/A
Lighting to be provided by the venue: Basic rig – we can make the show work with any level of lighting, projector and something to project onto.
Audio provided by the company: guitars and computers.
Audio to be provided by the venue: Vocal PA with 4 x mics and mic stands.
No. of additional staff to be provided by the venue: x1 technician for 3 hours.
Dressing rooms required: No
Other technical or performance notes: We require projection from the venue to project images throughout the performance (3 is best but 1 will do).